When Tsar Peter I the Great traveled to the Netherlands in 1699 to gain more shipbuilding experience, he recognized that Russia needed its own flag for the Navy. The flag should resemble the flag of the Netherlands but use colors from Russia. At that time the flag of the Netherlands had 3 horizontal stripes that were orange, white, and blue, after 1630 the colors changed to red, white, and blue. The flag was first allowed to be used on May 7, 1883. When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917, they changed the national flag. On August 22, 1991 the white-blue-red tri-color flag was chosen again to be the Russian National Flag.
The flag of Russia is a tri-colored flag with three equal large horizontal stripes: white on top, blue in the middle and red on the bottom. The Trikolore (tri-color) of panslawischen (Pan-Slavic colors – red, blue and white) colors are used also in the flags of many other Slavic nations.
There is no official interpretation, or law for what the three colors of the Russian Flag stand for, so there are various interpretations. The most widespread relates to European Heraldry: white stands for nobility and openness, blue symbolizes loyalty and chastity, and red for courage, magnanimity, generosity, and love. There is also an interpretation that is geographical: each of these regions stood for a color: Red = Velikaya Rus (Great Rus – the western part of present-day Russia), White = Belaya Rus (Belarus), and Blue = Malaya Rus (Little Russia – part of present-day Ukraine).
Peter I the Great also gave another flag to the Country: the so-called Imperial Flag of Russia. It consists of a blue St. Andrews cross on a white background. This flag was used alternatively with the tri-colored flag. The flag is still used as the flag of the Russian Navy.